Fairer and healthier

Thank you for publishing Katie Zakrzewski’s fine letter, “For healthier climate.” She provides convincing reasons why securing a healthy climate and supporting clean energy should be a policy centerpoint for conservative Arkansans and the Republican Party as a whole.

I’m expanding her focus: Cleaning up our air and reducing atmospheric carbon and methane should be a unifying, active priority for Arkansans and all Americans. Certainly we all want the positive health benefits, as well as the pride of taking care of our families and our communities.

There is no doubt that our world, wrapped in a blanket of polluting gases, is getting dangerously warmer. This July, humanity lived through the hottest month in 142 years of NOAA record-keeping. This is a disturbing upward trend; warmer temperatures amplify drought and flooding, just like the phenomena that damaged farmland, infrastructure, businesses and homes in southeast Arkansas this spring and inundated Arkansas River communities in 2019.

Clearly, it’s best if Congress could pass effective bipartisan climate legislation. Thankfully, President Biden and Democrats are leading the way via budget reconciliation, focusing on a suite of policies to reduce U.S. emissions 50 percent by 2030. Ms. Zakrzewski identified one such effective policy: carbon pricing, which is appealing to conservatives as well.

What I like best about carbon pricing/corporate polluter fees is the accompanying carbon cash-back payments. These monthly rebates would provide a boost to low- and middle-income Americans during the clean energy transition, making it fairer, as we move toward a healthier climate for all of us.



Who will save them?

So many thoughts are running through my mind. The Republican Party is full of thoughtful leaders. Unfortunately, many of them are now leaving the party. It appears what is left is a party of undemocratic, power-grasping politicians, leading a mass of poorly informed and deeply distrustful voters. These voters are basically good people, who honestly believe they are acting to save this country, but are acting on misinformation. A plethora of circumstances created by both parties have led to this unrest, misinformation, and distrust. There is plenty of blame to go around. But pointing fingers will not help us now.

Along came a carnival barker who, endowed with a unique sense of reading a crowd, was able to form a movement from this mass. And now we have a political party that once led the world in freedom and progressiveness captive to this barker and his followers.

I have to wonder if the thoughtful leaders remaining in this party are not hoping that the Democrats will free them of this dangerous demigod. But it is just possible that the Democrats have their own agenda and feel the Republicans should clean their own house.

So who is left to save us and our country?



World wants to know

Who are the real Americans? Our friends and allies around the world want to know. What has happened to the shining city on a hill that rescued the world from the would-be conquerors Hitler and Stalin? We were flat on our backs after the Great Depression. Most of us were poor, but we did not think so.

I remember the war years: In Huttig, everybody had big gardens, My brother Mike and I fed the chickens, collected the eggs, slopped the hogs, and weeded the garden. The nearest Safeway was in El Dorado, 30 miles away. Twice a month, we would drive to Safeway and usually see a movie at the Rialto. We would catch up on the war news and see a comedy before watching the movie.

On Sunday morning, we went to Sunday School and church at the First Methodist Church in Huttig. Mother taught my Sunday School class. That night we went to the evening service. On Wednesday night there would be a song service.

We moved to El Dorado after the war was over in the summer of 1946. Our new house did not have a garden or a chicken pen, no room for pigs, or rabbits, or goats. Pop bought a 1948 Mercury, and every Sunday afternoon, we would go for a drive in the new car. Nobody had a TV set. They would not become commonplace until the 1950s. We did get a new record player and radio, though–and a party-line telephone, where the operator said, “Number please.”

It was our faith in God and the teachings of Jesus that led our communal life. Godless communism was the new enemy. We were the architects of the United Nations Charter (1945) and the Declaration of Human Rights (1948). We stopped the spread of communism in Korea. We were the leaders of the free world.

What has happened to us? The world wants to know.



Just use your signal

Why is it that most of the drivers I follow either do not signal their turns, or they signal them about 10 feet from their turns, after braking for the previous 50-75 feet? Clearly, they have forgotten that Arkansas law requires a turn signal at least 100 feet before the turn (AR Code § 27-51-403 [2019]), or they missed driver education class the day that requirement was discussed.

If you’re reading this letter, please take it as a reminder to signal turns well in advance. This simple act can help to prevent accidents, injuries and inconvenient auto repair.



Redistricting shame

State Rep. Nelda Speaks was Baxter County treasurer when I ran for 9th District Justice of the Peace as an independent. She was helpful and gave me all the county budget information that I requested. She showed her sense of fairness and balance at that time.

Too bad that she hasn’t carried that sense of fairness and balance forward when considering the new redistricting map for Arkansas.


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